SEB Prague 2020

Plenary Lecturers

Each year at our Annual Meeting, we honour George Parker Bidder and Harold Woolhouse with key Plenary Lectures. These lectures, along with the Cell Biology Plenary Lecture, are given by scientists prominent in their field and are nominated by the committees of their respective sections.

This year's Plenary Lecturers are:

  • Cell Biology Plenary Lecture - Iris Meier (The Ohio State University, USA)
  • Bidder lectureNeil Metcalfe (University of Glasgow, UK)
  • Woolhouse Plenary lecture - Julia Bailey-Serres 

Cell Biology Plenary Lecture - Iris Meier

Iris Meier v2 


Iris Meier did her Ph.D. work in the Department of Biophysics at Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf, Germany, working on bacterial repressor-operator complexes. After postdoctoral training at The Max Planck Institute in Cologne, Germany and UC Berkeley, USA in plant molecular biology, she has led her research group at the University of Hamburg, Germany, the DuPont Experimental Station, USA, and - since 1999 - The Ohio State University, where she is a full professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics. Her lab has - with collaborators -  discovered protein complexes that link the plant nucleoplasm with the cytoplasm and that affect nuclear morphology, nuclear movement, and a variety of plant traits, including male fertility, stomatal function, and nodulation. She now focusses on understanding their biochemical, cellular, and organismal roles and on comparing their structure-function relationships with analogous complexes in animals and fungi.

Bidder Lecture - Neil B. Metcalfe


Neil Metcalfe 

Talk title: From mitochondria to fitness: can individual variation in metabolic traits predict performance?


Neil Metcalfe is a physiological ecologist who combines studies of mechanisms and function to understand phenotypic variation in animals.  He started his scientific life at Durham University, then moved to the University of Glasgow to conduct research on wintering shorebirds.  Since then much of his research has been on the physiological processes underpinning variation in whole-animal traits, and the consequences for the life histories of both the individuals themselves and for their descendants. This work has focussed largely on fish (especially salmonids, in view of their complex and interesting life histories). It involves field and laboratory studies, and the interdisciplinary perspective had led to collaborations and interactions with a diverse range of people including modellers, cell biologists, chemists, gerontologists, paediatricians, ecologists and wildlife managers.

Woolhouse Plenary lecture - Julia Bailey-Serres 

Julia Bailey-Serres v2

Talk title: Evolutionary flexibility in flooding response circuitry


Julia Bailey-Serres is a distinguished professor of genetics at the University of California, Riverside. She studies the resilience mechanisms of plants that help to safeguard crop yields in unpredictable environments. She is recognized for the in-depth dissection of the function of the SUBMERGENCE 1A gene of rice that enables survival of prolonged complete submergence, as evidenced by its stabilizing effect on grain yield in flood-prone regions of Asia. Her collaborative research has defined how plants sense and respond to deficiencies in cellular oxygen and energy. Her group has pioneered technologies that can uncover gene activity and regulatory networks in specific cell types - from chromatin to translated messenger RNAs. Current research in the Bailey-Serres group focuses on the regulation of metabolic and developmental plasticity in response to extremes in water and nutrient availability in rice and other crops. As Director of the Center for Plant Cell Biology, she is committed to enhancing interdisciplinary research and education to address challenges in environmental sustainability and food security.